Vera, 13, lives in an apartment on the outskirts of Kiev with her parents, Anastasia and Sergey. Vera stays very busy singing in a choir, excelling in school, designing costumes, and medaling at swim meets. Her schedule and accolades would be impressive on their own, but when you learn that Vera was born with cerebral palsy and couldn’t even walk until she was 3, you realize how truly impressive this young woman is.
Vera is a fighter with a strong back-up team – her parents and The Fellowship. The Fellowship pays for yearly rehabilitation treatments and installed special bars in Vera’s room to help her build up her muscles. Today, that same room is filled with Vera’s medals and trophies.
Vera’s winning attitude is evident in the way she talks about her schedule, which is so packed it could exhaust a healthy adult, let alone a young teen. “Of course, school is first place,” Vera says. “On Monday, I have seven classes and then swim practice. No! Before swimming I have an English lesson. On Tuesday, after seven classes I go to music school. On Wednesday after school I have enrichment classes and then music school. On Thursday I have a design class and swimming. Friday, music school. Saturday I have music school and then a physical therapist comes to my house to help me with my walking.”
In addition to helping with Vera’s rehabilitation, The Fellowship ensures that Vera has the basic necessities she needs to live a healthy life. Vera’s mother does not work outside the home, dedicating all of her time to Vera’s care. Her father’s salary barely exceeds minimum wage. The Fellowship provides Vera with a food card to make sure that she always has enough to eat. Last year, The Fellowship also bought Vera special orthopedic shoes to help with her walking.
As part of their appreciation for The Fellowship and their local Jewish community, Vera and her family try to attend all community celebrations and help others whenever they can.